The first thing you should know about Charles Henson is that he drives a Tesla – and he really likes it.
“I absolutely love it,” the Nashville-area managed services provider (MSP) said of the first new car he’s ever owned. “It’s like an extremely quiet airplane.”
“I drive it even when I don’t need to go somewhere.”
Henson won the $68,000 Model S sedan – in large part – for running a great MSP.
Each year at Robin Robin’s annual IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp in Nashville, one managed services provider (MSP) is honored as a shining example of the success that’s possible when you adhere to the program’s tenets.
This year, that shining example was Henson.
The managing partner of Nashville Computer took First Prize at last month’s “Better Your Best” contest, aimed at encouraging each member business to do better than their best year by embracing and implementing the marketing strategies taught by Robins’ firm, Technology Marketing Toolkit (TMT).
The annual winner takes home a luxury car.
Even better than the free wheels, Henson said, is what TMT has meant for his business.
Filling that sales pipeline
Henson’s success story has taken Nashville Computer from about $1.4 million in annual revenue, to more than $2.8 million last year.
Profitability grew by 103 percent, last year alone.
“We joined because we didn’t know from month to month who was going to call us, from finding us in the Yellow Pages,” he said. “We started every month with $0.”
“We were looking for a way to create steady income.”
Critical to the company’s transformation was the evolution from a break-fix shop, to one much more reliant on income from managed services.
“We had heard about managed services but didn’t know what that looked like,” Henson said. “We learned about recurring revenue and we set up a recurring revenue model.”
“Over time, we’ve grown to where we don’t do break-fix any more,” he continued. “I automatically have about $160K a month in recurring revenue – before we event start.”
More precisely, the figure is $161,171, up 63 percent from the previous year.
“Five years ago, we didn’t have a pipeline nor the means to fill that pipeline,” Henson said. “The marketing that Robin gives you, gives you the means to filling that pipeline.”
The tools and expertise for such a turnaround don’t come cheap.
A firm pays $1,497 a month to be a member of the Producers Club, TMT’s top tier peer group – where the average MSP experienced a 205 percent increase in sales and 335 percent growth in net profit during the past three years.
A step-by-step, follow-the-numbers system
TMT provides members with an endless array of innovative marketing campaigns, training, materials and consulting expertise.
In 2016, the year upon which Henson’s win was based, Nashville Computer employed a broad range of marketing activities, including:
- Print and digital newsletters
- Google AdWords
- Cyber crime trainings
- Lunch n’ Learns
- Trade shows
- Inbound website marketing
- Direct mail
- Themed campaigns pegged to holidays and other special days, like Halloween.
“There’s not one thing,” Henson explained. “It’s a combination of things.”
“It’s not just a website, it’s not just Facebook ads, it’s not just LinkedIn,” he went on. “It’s a combination of all of them. If there’s 'one thing' that you could do, it’s marketing.”
To get a sense of TMT’s tactics, consider the “Aspirin Campaign,” which is well known among the company’s peer group members.
Members are encouraged to staple actual foil pouches containing two Bayer aspirin onto templated prospecting letters, right beneath a headline that says: “Is Your Current Computer Guy Causing You To Need One Of These?”
Another lesson Henson embraced involves the importance of culling undesirable customers to maintain a healthy bottom line.
Last year, Nashville Computer got rid of $294,473 in revenue by firing clients that were either unprofitable or took too heavy a toll on staff resources and sanity.
He credits that advice with helping double the company’s profit.
But by far the most important learning from TMT, Henson said, comes from understanding that marketing in the MSP space – when done right – actually works.
“You have to be consistent,” he said. “It’s a step-by-step, follow-the-numbers system.”
“If you continually work on it, day in and day out, over the course of time you’re going to excel in your marketing and it’s going to add to your bottom line,” Henson continued. “But it’s not going to do the work for you; you have to do it.”
View presentations by all five finalists and Robin Robins during the “Best Your Best” session from the 2017 IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp (2 hours, 30 minutes), or fast forward to Charles Henson’s winning 20-minute presentation at the 1:30:45 mark.
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